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Why And What Should You Buy Organic?

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One major dilemma we can all relate to is whether to buy organic or not, and if yes, then what organic products we can opt for! Here is why and what should you buy organic.

So many of you are sold on the benefits of clean food. We want less of what can irritate our systems and more of what helps us feel our best, helps our bodies run their best, oh and tastes delicious!

Our AKA intern and NYU dietetic intern, Rachel Silverman, shares why she thinks it is important to make organic choices and also includes a few of her favorite organic products that she eats daily even on a student’s budget.

Maria Rodale said, “If you do just one thing to change the world, go organic”. We agree. Here is why:

Why Should You Choose Organic Most Of The Time?

Organic farming of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meats are done without the use of unapproved chemicals for pest control, diseases, and weed prevention.

For a product to be labeled as organic it must meet the USDA’s set of standards which includes a board review of approved ingredients every 5 years, supports animal welfare, helps preserve natural resources, prohibits the use of genetically modified seeds and animals are not allowed to be fed GMO ingredients.

These farms and production facilities also undergo annual inspections to make sure these organic practices are being followed. Net, while not perfect (newsflash: nothing, no one, ever is, right?) the USDA certification is a system designed to support better practices to result in quality food and supplemental food ingredient production.

So what does this mean for you?

You should make an effort for more of your nutrition intake to be certified organic. The best way to do this? Choose organic for what goes in and on you most often.

What Should You Buy Organic?

Choose Organic That You Can Afford

Organic is actually not synonymous with more expensive. In fact, finding organic products can be affordable when you shop following these tips.

Look For Sales And Coupons

Markets like Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods, Safeway, Mom’s Organic and Trader Joe’s offer coupons on organic items and advertise sales in their weekly newsletters.

Shop online at Thrive Market is a health food website stocked with organic and non-GMO products at reduced prices up to 50% off.

Buy From Farmers

Visiting your local farmers market will reduce the cost of buying organic for what is in season (and will taste better, too!). Get to know the farmers and ask questions to ensure they are certified organic.

Try The Bulk Bins

Buy in bulk (AKA tip: freeze excess fruit for smoothies!). Farmers may be more likely to cut costs at the end of the day, so go on the later end to visit the farmers market.

Go For The Ugly Or The Imperfect

They are often being cast aside and you can get bargains on great organic food that will be delicious and nutritious and make you pretty on the inside and outside, even if its not the “perfect” looking produce you have been marketed to think is better.

Choose Organic For The Dirty

In 2016, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released an updated list of the “Dirty Dozen”, a list of foods that contain the highest pesticide loads and should be purchased organic, when possible.

Some of the biggest offenders in 2016 include strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, and even kale – yes “All Hail Only Organic Kale!”

Apples are at the top of the list when it comes to highest amounts of pesticides. Since most of the nutrients are found in the skin of the apple like vitamin C and pectin, a fiber that helps prevent the buildup of cholesterol in blood vessels, you would lose a lot of the nutrients by peeling the skin off of the fruit to reduce the amount of pesticides consumed.

For a complete list visit here.1

My rule of thumb when it comes to buying organic produce: if you can eat the skin or leaf it better be organic!

Choose Organic As You Go Up The Food Chain

Our non-human friends produce better products when they feel healthier. Animals feel better when they are fueled by better nutrition, kept in a clean and healthy environment, not given medications unless sick and when they are active to reduce stress.

Research shows organic dairy milk contains a different, healthier fatty acid and other nutrient profile than non-organic (choose whole fat or lowfat to get the benefits and ideally grass-fed, finished products).

Animal products should be accessories to an organic plant-based diet because even if you consume them organic, we do not need as much of them as we do of plants.

If organic animal products are not available choose organic plant options or choose naturally non-GMO non-organic plant options, especially the Clean 15 (the opposite of the Dirty Dozen!) as a back up (avoid corn, soy, sugar beets etc. as well as Dirty Dozen produce).

Remember, that we do not know what the health issues with GMOs are for everyone, but we do know the negative health implications of consuming non-organic approved pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate which are sprayed on plants like wheat.

So choosing non-GMO will not help you here, but choosing organic will.

Do Not Make These Two Diet Mistakes!

1. If you are choosing better quality foods and drinks to eat, your supplements better be better quality too. In fact, they should be at least as good quality if not better than the food you eat, otherwise why are you choosing to take them?

2. Total nutrition includes what goes on your body, daily, as it goes right in you – often skipping digestion and going right into your system where any irritants can disrupt your body’s optimal work efforts.

Your beauty and skincare regime better be better beauty which means safe, effective, and gets results.

My recommendation is to choose organic whenever it is accessible and affordable. Even as a dietetic intern, I prioritize organic foods as part of budgeting for better health.

It may mean I get a few less lattes out – that is ok because I love making mine at home and bringing in along in a big stainless steel mug with my favorite organic nut milk.

A few of my other organic staples include – organic almond butter. I like to grind my own almond butter which allows me to buy by weight, which can help save money.

When buying fresh produce I visit the farmers market for seasonal organic fruits and vegetables. Lastly, I keep frozen organic fruits and vegetables in my freezer to whip up a nutritious smoothie with an organic protein powder; before a long day at the hospital!

References   [ + ]

1.All 48 Fruits And Vegetables With Pesticide Residue Data, Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Ashley Koff RD

Ashley Koff RD is an internationally-renowned registered dietitian who believes better nutrition is simple and is on a mission to help people achieve their personal health goals by providing understandable and highly effective tips and strategies. A self-described “qualitarian,” Koff emphasizes the value of quality nutritional choices in achieving optimal wellbeing, and has developed online tools such as The AKA Qualitarian Nutrition Plan and The AKA Personal Shopper to help people make better-quality choices. Besides maintaining a Washington, D.C.-based clinical practice, Koff is a much-sought-after expert in the media, social media, and is a go-to dietitian for the nation's leading doctors.

Ashley Koff RD

Ashley Koff RD is an internationally-renowned registered dietitian who believes better nutrition is simple and is on a mission to help people achieve their personal health goals by providing understandable and highly effective tips and strategies. A self-described “qualitarian,” Koff emphasizes the value of quality nutritional choices in achieving optimal wellbeing, and has developed online tools such as The AKA Qualitarian Nutrition Plan and The AKA Personal Shopper to help people make better-quality choices. Besides maintaining a Washington, D.C.-based clinical practice, Koff is a much-sought-after expert in the media, social media, and is a go-to dietitian for the nation's leading doctors.

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